As a handyman, I had my first exposure to installing vinyl siding last year. I must admit I was amazed at the difference in appearance of the houses and business we did before compared to after. Man, vinyl siding really cleaned up the appearance. The siding jobs went pretty well until the final job which was a large business. I learned a hard lesson about starting the job on the lowest point. My buddy actually began the job at the wrong location on the building because he was anxious to get started. Unfortunately, he picked a point he wanted to do first and it wasn’t the lowest point of the building. I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to think through the problem. But, the issue reappeared on the opposite corner of the building. It caused waste of both time and material. I just felt blessed to come up with the solution.
I learned a lot about outside corners and inside corners, starter strips and window trim. I cut my teeth on jobs for a landlord at the local college. The work was long and hot during the heat of the summer. It seemed as though each structure had lots of bump outs and such with more than two peaks to the roofs because of his tendency to add to the buildings in order to increase occupancy.
Somehow, I turned into the guy to create the bids for each job. I learned a lot there, too. Pictures of the buildings became a must in addition to diagrams and measurements.
I am fortunate to work with a fellow who has twenty-five years of painting experience. When we painted a deck recently, for example, he gave great pointers on proper cleaning of the deck surface for good paint adhesion as well as remembering all the cracks and crevices. I provided an electric power washer that had just begun its second season with me. It was a short season for that machine. The darn thing lasted long enough to clean just the beginning of the first deck board, then crapped out! If it had not been for my painter friend’s gas power washer, I would have been stuck at the start. Still, we had to stop on the job site, drive across and out of town to load his power washer, then all the way back to the job site. Afterward, I had to use my truck again to get the washer back to his house. Time is money and we lost some there. Whew! Still it saved the job. We soon developed a rhythm of working together as we knocked out this job. I worked from a ladder to paint the pergola as he painted railing. I then painted the deck surface. It was a good size job that would have taken much longer were it not for my friend’s tips and tricks. Sidebar: I recall the customer’s neighbor was mowing his yard as my buddy and I were painting the deck. I was amazed and a little bit dumbfounded when I looked up just in time to see this guy filling his running lawn mower with gas while holding a lit cigarette between his lips. Hmmm… as I recall, the most flammable part of gasoline is its fumes. Forget flammable, they’re explosive. I felt like I was watching a train wreck. I didn’t want to witness this guy setting himself ablaze, but I could not turn away and stop watching to see whether or not he would go up in a fireball. The wind was with him instead of against him. So, he merrily continued mowing.
The white flecks noted in this bottom pic are from a nearby tree after the paint had dried. The pictures really don’t do it justice. I was very happy with the improvement in the deck, so was the homeowner who subsequently called back for more estimates.